October 18, 1999


The Monday class went to the graveyard for the first time together as a class and opened the 1999-2000 restoration work. We cleared away much debris. To prepare for better mapping of the graveyard, we put flags every ten feet along the West boundary. We found mussel shell and broken dishes on a gravesite. This is important because it was a tradition among upland southerners to decorate graves with shell and broken pottery in the days before flowers were used as decoration. Most of the people who settled McCortney Hollow were from the South. We also began excavating what looked like a footstone.

We started pulling thorny bushes and other shrubs to clean up individual gravesites. The class took the lunch break on a gravel bar across from Miller Spring on the Big Piney River. We found five more markers in the southwest corner of the yard, which we thought was empty. One very unusual sight occurred as we arrived. Coming down the hill to the pasture, we saw a dead cow with six vultures on it and several more buzzards in a tree nearby.